2012 NL LABR Draft Results + My NL-only Mock

Zach here,

First, here’s a link to Gardner’s NL LABR article which includes a link to the draft results.

Now let’s move on to my NL-only mock.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Last week, I was invited by the guys over at rotoexperts.com to take part in a 12-team NL-only expert mock draft. Even though the lone non-mixed league I will participate in this year is a 10-team auction keeper, I figured this would at least help a little bit in my preparation as I would get a feel for the overall depth at the various position. So I enthusiastically accepted! Our draft took place Sunday night, so I thought I’d run through my picks and the thought process that went into each of them. By the middle of the draft (fortunately we didn’t draft a bench!) we were well into the slim pickings stage, so pretty much all the players still available carried a medium to high level of risk. But I did the best I could and tried to use as many of my early picks as possible to scoop up guys who will provide above average production in multiple categories. I drew the fourth pick and was planning on deciding between some combination of Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Upton. Right off the bat I’d be in for a surprise. Let’s get started!

1.4    Matt Kemp

Whoa, I did not expect this. Votto went #1 overall, which isn’t necessarily a bad idea considering the huge dropoff that followed among NL first basemen. Braun and Tulo followed, leaving me Kemp, who I fully expected to get taken first. I know there are a lot of different opinions as to where Kemp should go in drafts this year, but fourth overall? I’d take him there every time. Even if he puts up a .285-30-100-100-30 line it’ll be worth it.

2.9    Pablo Sandoval

The only thing that separates the Panda from elite status is his propensity to eat too much, but I’m not impressed with the NL 3B pool depth. I would’ve probably taken Zimmerman if he didn’t get snatched up the pick right before me. Pablo did hit 23 homers in just 117 games last year.

3.4    Jimmy Rollins

I’m a big believer in addressing position scarcity early and I’m not that worried about J-Roll. Yeah, he’s no longer MVP material but he’s good for 15-plus homers and 30-plus steals to go along with a hefty number of runs.

4.9    Yovani Gallardo

Drafting an ace quality pitcher relatively early is a lot more important in a non-mixed league than it is in your standard 12-team mixed, and I’m thrilled to land a 200 K lock who last season showed marked improvement in the control department. I fully expect a career year.

5.4    Jayson Werth

Last year he was overrated. This year he’s underrated. Somewhat hidden in his 2011 bust season is the fact that he came one steal shy of going 20-20. A very strong NL-only #2 OF in my mind.

6.9    John Axford

I was surprised Axford fell this far and pounced on the opportunity to snag an elite closer at this point in the draft.

7.4    Ryan Howard

Here’s where I got a bit off track. Determined to grab a 1B before things got very ugly at the position, I took a chance on Howard, hoping that he could give me four and a half months of solid power numbers. Then after the draft I read that his rehab is going slower than originally thought. Maybe I’ll get only three months out of him. Maybe two months. I really don’t know. I probably should’ve opted for Ike Davis instead, but the whole Valley Fever thing combined with the Mets’ terrible luck in the health department scared me.

8.9    Anibal Sanchez

I thought about filling my 2B spot with Aaron Hill but Hill inspires little confidence in me and I felt that it was important to not be stuck with a mediocre #2 SP. I now have a pair of 200 K starters, which I like.

9.4    Marco Scutaro 

Time to address second base. Scutaro’s multi-position eligibility is very appealing. Oh yeah, then there’s that Coors thing. After making this pick I realized that I actually slightly prefer Scutaro over Hill anyway.

10.9  James Loney 

Not a huge fan of this guy but he did bat .320 in the second half last season and I desperately needed another decent 1B to hold the fort for Howard.

11.4    Frank Francisco

I always try to be one of the few teams with multiple closers in deeper non-mixed leagues, so I couldn’t resist taking Francisco here. After all, saves is a category, and if you open the season with more than one closer you’re already ahead of the game. I later made the prudent decision to handcuff Francisco with Rauch to ensure that I’ll be getting all 25 of those Mets saves! The main downside of this decision was that Carlos Ruiz, one of the final semi-acceptable #1 catchers, got taken a few picks later, turning my backstop situation into a disaster.

12.9    Bud Norris

My third 200-K caliber SP. I love my rotation so far.

13.4    Allen Craig

Not happy at all about this pick. Was all set to take Alex Presley but he didn’t make it back to me. I was close to grabbing him in the 12th but if I went that route I would not have gotten Norris, who I later learned would have picked by Tim Heaney. Despite the fact that Craig will open the season on the DL, I just thought his upside was greater than that of teammate Jon Jay, but in retrospect I should’ve went with the healthy Cardinal. Craig is an extremely weak #3 OF.

14.9    Jason Bartlett

An unexciting pick but I’ll take the 20 steals, though I probably would have been better off opting for an OF like Huff or Parra.

15.4    Edwin Jackson

Pitching in the NL and on a one-year contract, I’m pumped up about E-Jax this year. I’m also very surprised that he lasted until the 15th.

16.9    Ryan Ludwick

I expect Ludwick to get enough ABs to matter in an NL-only and his move from Petco to Great American Ballpark should help a great deal. I’m not giddy over this pick but it could turn out to be a decent one.

17.4    Sergio Romo

A lockdown middle reliever carries plenty of value in a non-mixed, let alone one who could see some save chances should Brian Wilson’s health woes continue.

18.9    Jason Castro

This was embarrassing. I actually had to do some research during the draft to find out if Castro was indeed the Astros’ projected Opening Day starter. And he’s my #1 catcher!

19.4    Jon Rauch

Injury insurance for Francisco and a guy who has done a decent job in his previous closing stints.

20.9    Kyle Blanks

I have no idea what to expect from Blanks this year but as long as he avoids the Minors and the DL (no guarantee), the power potential is enough to warrant a selection this late in the draft.

21.4    Jim Thome

Maybe he’ll get a couple starts a week at 1B while Howard is out? Maybe Wigginton gets hurt and Thome plays even more? Probably wishful thinking. I totally overlooked Brett Jackson here, not to mention Nolan Arenado, who inexplicably didn’t even get drafted.

22.9    John Baker

The second half of the worst catching duo in the history of fantasy baseball!

23.4    Jeremy Guthrie

I’m not expecting a whole lot from Guthrie being that he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher who will now call Coors Field home. But he’s been a decent pitcher in the AL East and that should count for something, no? Not a bad #5 SP in an NL-only.

The Final Verdict

Strengths

-Starting pitching, particularly strikeouts

-Two quality closers, one of them elite

-Above average speed (Kemp, Rollins, Werth, Bartlett)

Weaknesses

-Awful at the catcher position

- Weak in the outfield beyond the top two

-Dicey situation at 1B, at least to start the year

Well, there you have it! All comments are welcome and Click Here for the full draft results, though you need to be registered on Fantrax to view them.

32 Comments

I thought I saw or heard something somewhere that although spring stats are generally meaningless, a player who slugs more than 200 points over his career slugging percentage (in an appreciable amount of at bats) may well be in for a big year. I don’t know if this came from the 411, or maybe Ron Shandler.

I was watching Clubhouse Conf on MLB network and they were using a SIERA stat to project 2012 ERA fo CJ and couple other pitchers changing parks. I was wondering if MLB network did a list for for all Pitchers? Wonder, too, if other computer “shredder” lists were available for all players.

I know Cory’s composite list avg a bunch of other places projections, but we have no idea how espn did their projection vs how yahoo did theirs.

I was reoffered Cameron Maybin ($1) and Jose Valverde ($4) for Hunter Pence ($15), is this a good deal for me? I proposed a trade earlier with Joel Hanrahan, but he didn’t want to give Joel up for a buck. The league is a keeper and I wasn’t planning on keeping Pence.

Brent,

Yeah, depending on your other keeper options, I do like that trade for you.

Zach

Are you guys concerned with Ike Davis’s health this year? Are you knocking him down in your rankings at all due to the Valley Fever thing? Thanks

Damon,

I am a tad concerned considering what happened to Conor Jackson but not enough to bump him out of the top 20 of 1Bs. Davis is still a solid CI in a 12-team mixed league. It sounds like he has this thing under control.

Zach

10 team H2H 12×13 8 keeper league… Had Mauer, Tulo, Lawrie, Braun, Ellsbury, Cain, Bumgarner, and Crawford in mind as my keepers going into the latest setback by Carl… Thinking he will be available in the later rounds, I do have A-Rod and Avila also as potential keepers. Which of the 3 should I select? Crawford/A-Rod/Avila… Thnx

Side note: I PoD’d the last few years (2-1sts and 1-3rd place finish), some players are raising a fuss over it, so I may not be able to do it this season

Steve,

I’m more than a little scared off by Crawford this year and I do think that there’s a chance you can get him back anyway at this point. I’d take a chance that A-Rod stays relatively healthy and puts up strong numbers. At least he’s done it before. Avila’s still a bit risky as his track record is thin. A-Rod’s risky too, but not from a performance standpoint.

Zach

I’m rescuing a neglected team in a 5×5 roto mixed keeper. I’ll be keeping two of the following to round out my list. Which two do you like best:

Gardner in the 15th
Heyward in the 12th
Kendrick in the 20th

I figure Heyward’s probably got the biggest upside, but the other two probably come at a better price. Thoughts?

Eric,

Gardner and Kendrick would be my choices. 12th round is pretty good value for Heyward but I wouldn’t be able to pass up on those other two. If you really wanted to keep Heyward you could always redraft him (say in the 9th or 10th round) and hope he delivers a profit going forward. The good thing about Heyward is that he can still be had at a reasonable price. That might not be the case a year from now.

Zach

Which team is getting the better deal?
Team 1: Ryan Howard and Tervor Chaill
Team 2: Giancarlo Stanton, Casey Kotchman, and Alexi Ogando
Jon from Texas

Jon,

Team 2. And considering Howard’s health status (which is sounding more ominous each week), it’s not even close.

Zach

Keepers Help – I’m allowed 7 keepers. Who would you keep? Carlos Santana, Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Michael Morse, Desmond Jennings, Jacobi Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Andre Ethier, Chris Young, Logan Morrison, Jesus Montero, Strasburg, Beachy, Marcum, Pineda, Billingsley, Masterson, Vogelsong, Hanson

Connie,

I’d go Santana, Votto, Ellsbury, Jennings, Pence, Strasburg, Beachy. Morse is close behind Beachy though.

Zach

Love the show and the insight guys. I’m in a 14 team points league. Keep two: A-Gonzo, J Upton or Cliff Lee? Was leaning toward Gonzo and Lee, but now thinking Upton might be the better choice.

Jim,

Just answered this on an earlier post…Gonzalez and Upton.

Zach

Kinsler and Scott Baker for Zobrist and Jordan Zimmermann. Kinsler side right? I like Zim this year

Ryan,

Edge to the Kinsler side but it’s close since I do like Zobrist this year and am down on Baker.

Zach

Zack, i just drafted my team last night, should i add Drew Storen and drop Andrew Bailey or drop J.P Arencibia. Thanks

Vin,

Why Storen is available in your league is beyond me. He’s a top-5 closer! But yes, add him and drop Arencibia.

Zach

What do you guys think. It’s a 10 Team H2H league.
Hitting Cats: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG & Pitching Cats: IP, W, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP

C- Matt Wieters
1B- Paul Goldschmidt
2B- Ian Kinsler
3B- Ryan Zimmerman
SS- Jimmy Rollins
OF- Ryan Braun
OF- Jacoby Ellsbury
OF- Andrew McCutchen
UTL- Brett Lawrie
UTL- Adam Dunn
BN- Vernon Wells

SP- Madison Bumgardner
SP- Mat Latos
SP- Jordan Zimmerman
SP- Brandon Beachy
SP- Brandon Morrow
SP- Corey Leubke
SP- Bud Norris
SP- Mike Minor
RP- Brian Wilson
RP- Jason Motte
RP- Javy Guerra
RP- Tyler Clippard
RP- Eric O’Flannery
RP- David Hernandez

Tony,

Looks good to me! Goldschmidt is a little weak for a starting 1B in a 10-teamer but that’s just nitpicking.

Zach

Hey 411,
10 team mixed keeper
Which team gets the better end of the deal?
Team A: Roy Halladay ($29)
Team B: David Price ($16) and Dustin Ackley ($1)

Thank and love the show and blog…

Larry,

Team B but it’s far from a no-brainer being that I consider Ackley to be a little overrated from a fantasy perspective. Still, $12 is a substantial price difference.

Zach

Zack-In a vacuum, who do you like better out of Cory/Mike’s underrated 2nd basemen-Jose Altuve or Kelly Johnson?

Bill,

They’re very different players as one is an AVG-speed guy while the other is more of a power asset. I’m very high on Altuve long-term but for 2012 I think I’ll opt for Johnson as we’ve already seen him enjoy considerable success at the big league level. His slumps are maddeningly frustrating, but don’t forget that he runs a little too!

Zach

I love reading your POD updates throughout each year. Your site is a great source of insight that I come to use often.

Thanks and Keep up the great work.

I just finished my CBS auction draft. Think I did well. Would love to hear any input/thoughts..
5X5 Roto
BA/HR/SB/RBI/R
WHIP/Ws/Ks/ERA/SV

C.($1) Salvador Perez 1B($21) Napoli 2B($17) Brandon Phillips
3B($11) Moustakas SS($9) Starlin Castro–11′ keeper MI($14) Dee Gordon
CI($1) Mike Morse–11’keeper OF($17) Alex Gordon OF($24) Hunter Pence
OF($27) Stanton–11’keeper Ut($18) Lance Berkman Ut($4) Melky Cabrera
Bench ($1) Alejandro de Aza Bench ($1) Alex Rios

SP (32) Jered Weaver
SP (27) Gallardo
SP (15) J. Zimmerman
SP (7) J. Chacin
SP (1) Brandon Beachy—’11 keeper
RP K.Jansen & Jim Johnson (both $1)
Bench Peacock(2) Luebke(7) Chris Sale(1)

Looking forward to your thoughts
Thanks

Jon,

Well, the main weakness is at the closer position where Jansen won’t even begin the season as the Dodgers’ closer while Johnson is no sure thing considering his lack of experience in the closer role. So basically you don’t have even one stable source for saves at least to start the season. Other than that though, looks pretty good. And you have some great keepers.

Zach

Zach,
Yeah , I basically punted closers during the draft. Figured I could patchwork it throughout the season. Anyways, doesnt seem like the smartest idea this year with my league. Right now a trade has been accepted. awaiting clearance from the other teams.
What do ya think?
Im moving Lance Berkman ($18) and getting Drew Storen ($14) ?
Who should I drop? Im leaning towards Jansen.
Pick up?
Yonder Alonso is out there for Utility spot??
Drop Jim Johnson? Addison Reed is out there…who would be better??

I also dont want to start micro managing this squad too early if at all.
Ideas?

Thanks
Jon

Hey Well we are in the 13th round of our 10 team head to head…..do you think it would be to early to take a chance on drafting Kendry Morales? Where do you think Stubbs, Heyward, A Jackson, or Werth are worth drafting or a pitcher like CJ wilson? Do you think Aaron hill would be worth taking as a MI?

Alan,

It all depends on what other options are available so it’s tough to answer this question. 13th round in a 10-teamer would still be a tad too early for me for Morales. I’d rank those OFs Werth, Stubbs, Heyward, Jackson.

Zach

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